Arid Lands Newsletter--link to home page No. 41, Spring/Summer 1997
The CCD, Part II: Asia & Americas

Web resources on desertification, part II

Compiled and annotated by Katherine Waser

"The successful implementation of the Convention would make a significant contribution to solving some of our most pressing problems, including food security, water conservation, drought emergency management, poverty reduction, and migration."

--Mr. Hama Arba Diallo, Executive Secretary, Interim Secretariat for the CCD speaking at the FAO World Food Summit, November 1996

[Links last checked March 2000]

Coverage, criteria and limitations of this list

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This annotated list adds to the list published in ALN 40. That list focused on general desertification information, information on the CCD, and information sources on Africa and the Mediterranean.

For this issue, I was looking for (a) sites to update the above categories, and (b) sites for this issue's focus areas of Asia and the Americas. I also looked for sites on desertification in Australia for this list.

Although I came across quite a few sites or pages having to do with desertification in these areas, many of them had not been updated or maintained for one or more years, contained only very sparse information and/or no data, contained only links to sites which are already included in one of the two desertification resource lists published here, or contained information only peripheral to the topic of this issue.

Ease of information access is also a crucial point, particularly given the international audience served by this newsletter. Sites whose importance is significant are listed regardless of whether or not they are accessible to all browsers but in such cases I have commented on limitations to "universal access" (e.g. browser must be frames/ java/ images-capable to access this site).

There are currently far more web resources on desertification in Africa, the Mediterranean and North America than there are sites covering either Asia or Latin America. The bulk of the sites I evaluated concerning Asia and Latin America were only tangentially concerned with desertification and thus are not included here.

This situation will surely change with time. Sites are now appearing that are being developed specifically as part of CCD-related activities; I expect that this development will only grow stronger with time. As always, this list is therefore not intended to be definitive; it is a snapshot in time, and all the sites listed were accessible as indicated as of 11 May 1997. [Note: URLs in this list last checked March 2000.]

General information on desertification and the CCD

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Update: Convention to Combat Desertification
The official site for the CCD, maintained by the CCD Secretariat, has moved to:
It's been redesigned as a frames site; there currently isn't any no-frames version.

Update: RIOD
The official site for NGO activity in connection with the CCD has moved to:
The site is currently undergoing a lot of reconstruction after moving and not all contents are currently accessible. I hope this changes soon--this is an important and usually very informative site.

UNEP Dryland Ecosystem and Desertification Control Programme Activity Centre (DEDC/PAC)
This site currently includes a first draft guide/manual for desertification control, to which DEDC/PAC is encouraging active criticism and contributions; success stories in desertification for 1995 and 1996; comments on UNEP's plans for future anti-desertification activities; access to the online version of Desertification Control Bulletin; and information on DEDC/PAC's Desertification Control Information System (DESIS) databases. Frames-only site; currently without "no-frames" alternative.

Desertification in Africa and the Mediterranean--Additional Sites

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Systeme d'information sur la desertification
This site contains information on Senegal's National Action Plan to combat desertification, online documents about the plan and activities undertaken in conjunction with it, online maps, a bibliography of holdings at the Centre de Suivi Ecologique (one of the sponsors of the site). Information is in French.

Sahara and Sahel Observatory / Observatoire du Sahara et du Sahel
The role and mission of the OSS in the fight against desertification in Africa; specific activities (including assisting in implementation of the CCD), OSS partners, and information on desertification especially as it relates to the OSS. Available in both English and French; accessible design. Lots of good information here.

Water Management in Africa and the Middle East
This online book is part of the IDRC Focus Collection, is a product of an IDRC workshop in Cairo. It identifies water management problems in different parts of the region, the role to be played by governments and international organizations as well as by NGOs and community-based organizations, identifies means of encouraging cooperation between governments and communities.

University of Trier Home page for Satellite-based Desertification Monitoring in the Mediterranean Project (DeMon Project)
Utrecht University Home Page for DeMon Project
These sites both describe the European Union's DeMon (Desertification monitoring) project. The first phase, DeMon-1 (1992-1995), focussed on the experimental development of monitoring and modeling methods. The second phase, DeMon-2 (1996-1999) aims at refining the earlier developed methods. Both sites are easy to navigate; the Utrecht site appears to have more data currently available but both sites are worth a look for anyone interested specifically in Mediterranean desertification.

Desertification in Asia and Australia

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Trends of Desertification and its Rehabilitation in China
This online report from a 1993 issue of the Desertification Control Bulletin has been reprinted (with permission) on the CIESIN web site.

Catchment Processes and Dryland Salinity Management
[March 2000, apparently no longer available] The goals of this Australian program are to capture existing knowledge on the cause and control of dryland salinity and, along with strategic research, to fill gaps in knowledge and develop a range of tools for on-farm applications. The site currently contains detailed project descriptions and contact information.

1995 CSD Report -- Desertification and Drought
[March 2000, apparently no longer available]
Overview of desertification and drought in Australian rangelands, from Australian University's 1995 report to the UN Commission on Sustainable Development. Gives background information on Australian policy on these issues.

See also the Central Asia links at the end of Eric Sievers' article in this issue of ALN (sievers.html).

Desertification in Latin America

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ReDesert: Desertification Information and Documentation Network (Northeastern Brazil)
[March 2000, site apparently no longer available]
This site is maintained as part of the Interinstitutional Desertification Information and documentation Network, which is fostering networking among research institutes in Brazil's semi-arid northeast, as well as helping Brazil with development of its National Plan to Combat Desertification. The site is offering space to put up information concerning other Latin American CCD activities, as well. The site is available in English and in Portuguese (the above URL is for the English version).

Desertification in North America

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Office of Arid Lands Studies
Yes, this is a shameless promotion of the organization I work for! This is the "parent" home site for the Office of Arid Lands Studies at The University of Arizona, publisher of the Arid Lands Newsletter. From the OALS home page you can access information about OALS and its work and can also reach the other web sites maintained by OALS (The International Arid Lands Consortium, the Arizona AgNIC Rangeland Management project, Aridic Soils of the U.S. and Israel, and more).

SALSA (Semi-Arid Land Surface-Atmosphere Program)
This site describes a long-term, multidisciplinary, monitoring and modeling effort for the Upper San Pedro River Basin of Arizona and Sonora, Mexico. The project investigates the impacts of anthropogenic change in regard to desertification, sustainability and feedbacks into regional hydrology and climate. The site contains data sets and extensive reports.

Desertification: Monitoring and Forecasting: Remote Monitoring in the Arid Southwest
This California Institute of Technology web sitesite houses a FAQ on vegetation indices (although the link was broken when I tried it recently), provides access to an arid region spectra library with two sets of spectra common to the Mojave Desert, and offers the complete text of Terrill Ray's Ph.D. thesis on Remote Monitoring of Land Degradation in Arid/Semiarid Regions, with field work carried out in the Mojave Desert. Be forewarned that the Ph.D. thesis chapters are available as download-and-open PDF files only; there's also a link to download a free PDF reader from Adobe Acrobat, if you need one.

Mojave Desert information from the Center for Earth and Planetary Science
CEPS is part of the Smithsonian Institution. This project is examining the distribution and history of vegetation-stabilized and active sand dunes in the Mojave Desert. There are lots of satellite images at the site, so a graphics browser is needed and a fast connection is desirable.

Mojave Desert--UIUC cartographic mapping project
The goal of this project, based at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is to create a comprehensive digital cartographic database of the Mojave ecoregion including maps and remotely sensed images, field measurements, and ARC/INFO coverages. As with the site above, a graphics browser and fast connection are advised.

Desert Research Institute
This site contains information about the University of Nevada's Desert Research Institute, its component laboratories and units, and its research programs.

Sevilleta Long-Term Ecological Research Project
This site has extensive information on research conducted at the Sevilleta LTER in New Mexico, including data on ENSO (El Niño Southern Oscillation) and other meteorological phenomena, soil, water, plants, and animals of the research area, and more. Lots of images, tables, and photos that will require a graphics browser.

National Drought Mitigation Center
This site, housed at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, is rich in useful information on all aspects of drought, drought planning, and drought mitigation, including information on ENSO. The major focus is on the United States but there is much here that will be useful internationally as well.

Rangeland Change in the Arid and Semi-Arid United States: The Need for Affordable Remote Monitoring
From the main page, select "pastoralism" from the navigation bar
This online report, written in conjunction with a Caltech research project, first considers the demonstrable physical impact of cattle ranching on arid and semi-arid regions of the United States (and, for comparison purposes, of Australia). It then explores the use of remote sensing as a monitoring tool in these areas, with special attention to the remotely sensed measurables pertinent in the assessment and description of land change.

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